Chelsea Predicted XI vs Wolves: Christopher Nkunku starts in 4-3-3

Chelsea players have to pick themselves up and go again as they welcome Gary O'Neil's Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge. Wolves gave Manchester United problems and will certainly give the Blues even more. Can Mauricio Pochettino set his team up to be more comfortable against Wolves than Erik ten Hag's men were?

Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Chelsea is sitting delicately in 10th place, but a loss tomorrow would see it slip down to 11th. The Blues have been subpar for too long to expect them to suddenly pick up form and fight for a top-five finish. Pochettino's men seem to be keeping a lot of the ball, yet conceding the number of goals only befitting a relegation-threatened side. There's a lot to suggest that Pochettino would have noticed the numerical disadvantage he created against a high-energy Liverpool side, so how does the Argentine manager set his team up?

Dorde Petrovic (No. 28) Goalkeeper, Serbia

Petrovic has done generally fine for someone who has faced 5.1 shots per game. He has two clean sheets in seven games and would have more if the Blues were any good at limiting the number and quality of shots they faced. 

Malo Gusto (No. 27) Right back, France

Malo Gusto came on to create Chelsea's only big chance of the Liverpool game. A big chance Mykhailo Mudryk missed. Gusto didn't start the Liverpool game, which is good because he'd be fresh enough to start this one. Gusto is looking more important for the Blues every week that passes.

Axel Disasi (No. 2) Centerback, France

Axel Disasi has been very good this season, especially in his duels. He has averaged five ground duels won per 90 minutes and is winning about 72% of his aerial duels. His passing has been good while not being overly adventurous. 

Benoit Badiashile (No. 5) Centerback, France

Benoit Badiashile has to play, not least because he is Chelsea's best player at winning possession back through tackles. He has won as many tackles where Chelsea won back possession (10) as Thiago Silva, and just two less than Disasi. This is despite playing at least 1200 fewer minutes than either centerback. According to Fotmob, the former Monaco centerback has also won an overwhelming 77% of those tackles, compared to Silva's 44% and Disasi's 55%. No one on the Chelsea team brings the perfect blend of accuracy off the ball and composure in possession.

Ben Chilwell (No. 3) Left back, England

Ben Chilwell will start this game. He was scapegoated against Liverpool by being substituted off at halftime in Merseyside. No, he was not good against Liverpool but taking him off did not change the team's fortunes, which suggests that he was not the problem.

Moises Caicedo (No. 25) Central midfielder, Ecuador

Moises Caicedo has deactivated his Twitter, along with his midfield colleague Enzo Fernandez. This is a consequence of the toxicity in the fan base. Players should be criticized when they play poorly, but they should not be abused. Caicedo and Fernandez are two more players in a long list of players who have had to take some action on social media accounts due to incessant abuse. That said, he was poor against Liverpool.

Enzo Fernandez (No. 8) Central midfielder, Argentina

The fee paid for Fernandez certainly adds to the perception of his performances so far, but he has been poor in many games this season. It has to be said. 

Conor Gallagher (No. 23) Central midfielder, England

Conor Gallagher would help bring balance to the midfield if he's deployed deeper against Wolves. Gallagher's industry, along with Fernandez's long passing and Caicedo's defensive work would ensure Chelsea has control of the game. 

Cole Palmer (No. 20) Right winger, England

Cole Palmer should be returned to right winger where he belongs. He was ineffective against Liverpool. The one job a manager has is to put his players in the best position to help the team. Palmer was of no use to the Blues at center forward. He leads Chelsea in chances created and big chances created, he should not be put in positions to  RECEIVE progressive passes as his main job.

Raheem Sterling (No. 7) Left winger, England

Raheem Sterling was abysmal against Liverpool, but he is still a better option than the players he is competing with. 

Christopher Nkunku (No. 18) Center forward, France

Nkunku did well to get a goal against Liverpool. His dribbling and holdup are also something that he added to the team when he came on. He should be ready to start games now.